I’ve had reason to contemplate my hometown of Perth anew of late. My husband took the big step this week of becoming an Australian citizen, which reminded me of how brave he was to move from Germany to Perth seven years ago without ever having set foot in the southern hemisphere. And his 25-year-old nephew is visiting us from Switzerland for a couple of months at the moment, so I’m watching him discover Perth from his perspective.
|An unconventional view of the city centre – Jan Augustin Photography|
I was born in Perth and lived here until I was 25, then returned in my 30s. It has changed a huge amount; I remember very well in my childhood that the brown AMP building you can see in this photo was the tallest one by far, but these days it’s a dwarf. I will make myself sound ancient if I go on and on about all the stuff that has changed, so I won’t, but Perth has certainly grown up.
But some things will never change, and this is one of the most frustrating parts of living here: it is crazy far from everywhere. In fact, Perth has the reputation of being the most isolated city in the world. Obviously there is no precise way to define this, but even those who would want to argue about it would surely agree that Perth is extremely isolated. It’s a biggish city (nearly up to 2 million people now) and to get to another biggish city you need to fly for over three hours. Driving to another capital city takes days. And in between, there’s desert. Lots of it.
|Perth skyline by night – Jan Augustin Photography|
It’s a double-edged sword I suppose. For me, a travel lover, living here means that pretty much wherever else in the the world I want to go, it takes a lot of hours and a lot of dollars to get there. One of our nearest destinations, Bali, takes about three-and-a-half hours. When I lived in Germany, I could have flown anywhere in Europe, and lots of places in Africa, in a shorter time than that (not to mention most of the way to New York).
But I think that being so isolated has also made Perth into the kind of city it is. It’s pretty relaxed; it’s mostly friendly. We don’t really expect anyone to come and see us and are pleasantly surprised when they do. It’s a pretty rich city thanks to the mines scattered across the state, and if we had that kind of wealth without the isolation, I reckon it could get way too snobby.
This post was brought to you by ZUJI and their flights to Perth.